This healthy Cajun chicken pasta has a milk and cheese-based sauce and can be made with regular flour, white whole wheat flour or gluten-free / grain-free flour.
Back in college, I’d make a version of this that uses 1/2 cup of heavy cream per person and clocks in at 935 calories per serving. I normally don’t care about fat content and calories but that seems a little over top to enjoy regularly.
So here we have a healthier version!
I’d like to speak about the origin for a moment before someone yells at me, saying that this dish isn’t Cajun. 😉
I’m not an expert but I’m thinking Cajun chicken pasta isn’t Cajun or even authentic to Louisiana (someone correct me if I’m wrong!). Kind of like how stromboli didn’t originate from Italy but Philadelphia.
Cajun chicken pasta strikes me as one of those meals started by restaurant chains. One that should have been called Cajun seasoned chicken pasta.
But that’s okay. Whatever it is, it’s delicious. What we have here is an adapted version of my healthier fettuccine alfredo with some vegetables and Cajun-spiced bites of chicken.
I don’t care whether it’s authentic or not because it’s one of my favorite dinner dishes ever. I rarely make it because honestly, it’s not the quickest meal to make.
I can say from experience that if you skip the vegetables, it reduces your prep time by 15 minutes. 😉
You need a little flour to make the sauce and I’ve made it with regular all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour. I’ve also made it with cassava flour for a gluten-free and grain-free version.
I used the one from Bob’s Red Mill and it could be that you need more or less cassava if using another recipe. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell until you’ve stirred in the milk.
So I recommend sticking with Bob’s! Then you can also use it in my Spaghetti Squash Alfredo.
If you need this dish to be gluten or grain-free, also remember to make sure that your pasta is also gluten / grain-free.
If you try out this healthy Cajun chicken pasta, I’d love to hear how you like it!
Healthy Cajun Chicken Pasta (gluten-free option)
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 1 medium green bell pepper
- 8 ounces (225 grams) fresh mushrooms
- 1 pound (455 grams) boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- For the pasta and sauce:
- 8 ounces (225 grams) dry linguine or fettuccine (use gluten-free, grain-free or whole wheat pasta, if desired)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, white whole wheat or for gluten / grain-free, Bob's Red Mill cassava flour
- 1 1/2 cups (355 milliliters) whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper, optional
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (I like things salty and use 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons cream cheese or neufchatel cheese
- 1 cup (88 grams) grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling on top, if desired
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley optional
- Remove the seeds from the bell peppers and cut the bell peppers into 1/3" strips.
- Cut the mushrooms into 1/4" slices. Set the vegetables aside and cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Rub the Cajun seasoning on it.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper strips and saute, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
- Add the sliced mushrooms and saute for another 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender enough for your liking. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper and then remove the vegetables to a medium bowl. Cover with foil or a plate.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to cook the chicken in two batches. Cook the chicken pieces for about 6-9 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove the chicken to the bowl with the vegetables and cover.
- Prepare the pasta according to the package directions. When it's finished, drain it but do not rinse. Return to the pot.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil.
- Add the minced garlic and cook until soft – about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Whisk in the milk, Cajun seasoning, lemon pepper, salt and pepper and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened slightly – about 3 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese, Pecorino Romano and whisk until completely melted.
- Add the sauce to the prepared pasta and mix until combined. Stir in the vegetables and chicken. Sprinkle with additional cheese and parsley, if desired.
- Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 4 days.